The Tragic Tale of William Papper

Written by Mike Covell
Category: · History

During the cold winter of 1881 the Rising Sun, a fishing smack, sailed from Hull. The vessel was captained by Osmond Otto Brand, and on board was a fourteen year old fisherlad named William Papper. When the vessel returned in January 1882, poor William Papper’s parents waited on the dockside for their son, but the apprentice never returned. According to all on board, William was lost at sea.

Eventually cracks began to show, crew members began to talk, and the whole terrifying truth was revealed. William Papper was murdered at sea by Osmond Otto Brand.

Now, for the first time in print, the entire story of William Papper, Osmond Otto Brand, and the Rising Sun can be told. From the police investigation, to the public outrage, featuring historical primary sources, contemporary newspapers, and statements from the period.

Mike Covell also explores what happened next, with the attempted murder on William Papper’s sister, and the sinking of the Rising Sun, which claimed yet another life of a young fisherlad.


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